NPR stories about Book Reviews
April 2, 2013 Patricia Volk's new memoir, Shocked, chronicles her complex relationship with her beautiful, exacting mother. She finds a useful contrast to her mother's stifled life in a memoir by avant-garde designer Elsa Schiaparelli. Reviewer Heller McAlpin calls the book a "stylish coming-of-age tale."
March 31, 2013 In this novel about sadness and delusion, critic Harold Augenbraum says, "love ... tatters its own lovers." What's your favorite tragic novel? Tell us in the comments.
March 29, 2013 Elizabeth Strout won the Pulitzer Prize for her last novel, Olive Kitteridge. Her follow-up, The Burgess Boys, is a sure-handed meditation on a family fractured by tragedy. Reviewer Lizzie Skurnick says Skurnick's "deft touch" comes through in the subtle betrayals of her characters.
March 27, 2013 Amid a literary landscape rife with metafictional and postmodern high jinks, Jill McCorkle has dared to write a heartwarmer set largely in a retirement home. Her Life After Life celebrates late-life epiphanies and old-fashioned kindness.
March 27, 2013 The rich and good-looking get a taste of life among the 99 percent in Jonathan Dee's novels. In A Thousand Pardons, his protagonist, Helen Armstead, finds a secret talent for getting powerful men to apologize after her marriage falls apart and she is forced to enter the working world.
March 26, 2013 Kristopher Jansma's hyper-inventive debut novel The Unchangeable Spots of Leopards explores the blurred boundary between truth and lies in a writer's life. Reviewer Heller McAlpin says the book "reaches a dizzying complexity that borders on the tiresome."
March 24, 2013 Author Nicole J. Georges discovered Michael Azerrad's Come as You Are: The Story of Nirvana when she was 13. The book became the heart map for her teenage angst. What book helped you find yourself?
March 21, 2013 Morality emerges from our evolved nature: so claims primatologist Frans de Waal, who takes aim in his new book at the view that morality comes from God. Commentator Barbara J. King finds de Waal's argument persuasive.
March 21, 2013 Nalo Hopkinson's latest, Sister Mine, mixes urban fantasy and family tension in a story about semi-divine twin sisters struggling to come to terms with each other and avert a magical disaster. Reviewer Genevieve Valentine calls it a "suitably imperfect and vibrant story of family."
March 20, 2013 Jean-Marie Blas de Robles' novel Where Tigers Are at Home won France's 2008 Prix Medicis. It's now out in English, and reviewer Alan Cheuse says it will appeal to readers who like the complexity of Umberto Eco, with "an adventure plot straight out of Michael Crichton."
March 19, 2013 Aleksandar Hemon's first book of nonfiction, The Book of My Lives, is a collection of essays about a shifting sense of home and displacement. Reviewer Ben Percy says these stories, which balance despair with hope and anger with humor, slashed through his defenses.